Indiana: South Bend, Family Vacation Ideas - Sand Dunes, Living History and College Football. The fun stuff is waiting within an hour of Chicago. Northern Indiana is a comfortable, friendly spot with farm markets, bakeries and natural beauty. Any list will include obvious favorites. Comb the dunes along Lake Michigan or cast a line from shore; count nesting herons or go to a star party; ride a pony or pet a llama; hike, bike or slide in the snow. Residents love to talk college football. Antique stores are rewarding and ice cream simply the best. We have a short list for action.
Watch football from another angle. If college football is your thing then the College Football Hall of Fame will make your day. Notre Dame does not have to be your favorite team because this location showcases the sport and pays tribute to its most remarkable players. Interactive and inviting the museum design puts visitors inside the game. Beginning in the stadium at the center of the museum visitors become immersed in the pageantry of the game through the creativity of film. The practice field allows anyone to test their passing, blocking and kicking while the strategy room provides an opportunity to think with a purpose. The locker room shows how coaching dialog is set for the next half and there is even a press box for calling the game. Bonus points: A new exhibit “See you in the Funny Papers” features college football as reflected by many of America’s favorite cartoonists and illustrators. The display also features short biographies of Bill Keane, the creator of The Family Circus and Charles M. Schultz, the creator of Peanuts. (College Football Hall of Fame. 111 South St. Joseph Street South Bend, IN 46601. 1-800-440 FAME (3263), (574) 235-9999 or www.collegefootball.org)
Examine vintage wheels. If you remember the Studebaker then this is a must see spot and if you don’t it will be a pleasant surprise. The Studebaker National Museum in South Bend showcases an amazing collection of autos and artifacts spanning 150 years. Reflecting the facilities of heritage of Studebaker buildings from the 1920s and 1930s the new state-of-the-art museum tells the story of America’s love affair with wheels. The private collection which began in the 1890's includes the carriages of Lafayette's as well as President Lincoln. On display is the company's last farm wagon, the first automobile built entirely in South Bend, and a large collection of World War I military vehicles. Bonus points: Visitors are invited to Adopt-A-Car for one full year and have the thrill of seeing the name of the sponsoring individual or family or group displayed next to the auto. (The Studebaker National Museum. 201 S. Chapin Street South Bend, IN 46601. (574)235-9714 or www.studebakermuseum.org)
Remember how camping used to be? Unless you have sepia toned photos from the good old days this may be the only spot to feel nostalgic and see an old favorite. The RV/MH Museum showcases vintage camping trailers, aged photos, and memorabilia dating from 1920's. Browse the chronological displays and see the technological advancements in RV/MHs from before WW I to present day. Special delights include a 1913 "Earl" Travel Trailer, 1913 Ford Model "T" Runabout and 19' Winnebago motor home on loan from Winnebago Industries. Need to know: The museum is open to the public weekdays throughout the year and weekends by appointment. ( RV/MH Hall of Fame. 21565 Executive Parkway Elkhart, Indiana 46514. Toll-free 1-800-378-8694, (574) 293-2344 or http://rv-mh-hall-of-fame.org/museum.html)
Discover the dunes along Lake Michigan. Located on the southern tip of Lake Michigan Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore is an energizing place to discover. In addition to 15 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline, the park covers more than 15,000 acres and includes 128-foot high dunes, oak savannas, swamps, bogs, marshes, prairies, rivers, and forests. It is an essential feeding and resting area for migrating land and water birds. From Cowles Bog Trail, the three - mile route encircling the marsh to the miles of sandy shoreline ready for water time, the area represents wild kingdom at its best. Spot Karner Blue butterflies along the shore and count bank swallows flying from their secret nesting spots inside the dunes. Picnic at Tremont in the warmer months or try cross-country skiing and snowshoeing during the winter. Bonus points: Dorothy Buell Memorial Visitor Center offers interactive ways to connect with nature and history including touch screen children’s activities and informative video. Access to Ly-co-ki-we and Calumet Dune trails begins at the center. Not-to-be-missed historic Chellberg Farm a living history spot is part of the complex. (Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. 1100 N. Mineral Springs Road, Porter, Indiana (219) 395-1008 or
Try living history at Chellberg Farm. Within the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore complex is a charming part of Americana - Chellberg Farm represents a typical 1890 - 1910 Swedish and Northwestern Indiana farmstead. Each weekend visitors are encouraged to assist in the feeding of resident farm animals and to learn about daily farm life in Porter County, Indiana. Activities reflect the changing of the seasons and magnify the importance of man’s connection with the area. Each September this is the location of the annual Duneland Fall Festival. Bonus points: This farm is the only national park that actually makes maple syrup each spring. During Maple Sugar Time at historic Chellberg Farm visitors have the chance to experience the sights, sounds, and smells of the sugar bush. (Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore Chellberg Farm. Located on north Mineral Springs Road in Porter, Indiana between highways 20 and 12, (219) 926-7561, extension 225 or www.nps.gov/indu/home.htm).
Content created by FamilyTravelFiles.com. Images provided by Indiana Tourism and College Football Hall of Fame. Copyright 2009.